This one will be short because I am running on MUCH less sleep that I had hoped for so I'm doing the best I can.
My summer of travel is about half over, I would estimate. I spent this weekend in Richmond, VA (I know, I should have just stayed in DC from last week!) at an event that their local GS council was hosting. It was a leadership event for 11th and 12th graders on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and this was the inaugural event. It actually went really well - there were a few glitches but that is to be expected with an event this size for the first time around. I am proud of how their staff put together a great event for these girls; even more, it was exciting to be with staff from another council that are just as passionate about older girl programming as my team and I are currently!
Left home at 6:45 Friday morning, picked up our van at the office, drove to Knoxville and picked up one staff member, drove to Johnson City and picked up another staff member, then another 5 hours to Richmond. A total of almost 19 hours in the car this weekend and about 10 hours of sleep total leaves me exhausted and looking forward to a few nights of good sleep.
Home for half a day tomorrow (here for a total of 19 hours) - long enough to wash clothes and pack again and I will leave for Columbus (for another 3.5 hours of driving). Honestly, I am super excited about seeing my parents, a trip with them (+my bff!!) but I miss my guy. I drove across town to have dinner with him tonight on his dinner break but I will haul it back to Chattanooga by next weekend to spend 2 uninterrupted days with him!
Sunday, June 30, 2013
This one will be short because I am running on MUCH less sleep that I had hoped for so I'm doing the best I can.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
I left for camp yesterday morning at 6:45am. I was trying to NOT get involved in Knoxville traffic and arrive at camp at a decent hour to actually be helpful throughout the day. I got there just after 9am which was making pretty good time and immediately jumped in to hanging out with some great girls. I spent the day learning the ropes of camp since I haven't ever actually spent the night (or even a day!) at this particular resident camp; it is always super fun to see what camp traditions get carried over/through the years and are exactly like I remember them. And then those that...aren't. :)
My goal in being there was to get some feedback from our middle school aged girls about what activities and events they really love and might like to do over the course of the next few years. I didn't get as much feedback as I would have liked to get but it was good to also see what things they enjoy the most about camp and think about how we can tie those things into the larger program ideas.
I stayed up far too late last night doing "stealth van" with the leadership staff...while they do their nightly rounds to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, they bring along a box of snacks for the staff. The staff has to "stealthily" approach the vehicle, sneak their snacks, and sneak back. It is fun for them and let's us see that everyone is in the unit they are supposed to be in....fantastic idea. However, our late night stealth mobile and this morning's 6am to chaperone a horseback riding field trip have left me with a seriously sore rear end and a desperate desire to go to bed early. (full disclosure: I had to pull off the highway halfway home and take a 15 minute nap for my safety and that of other drivers. You're welcome. I think I really am turning into my mother.)
Another load of laundry, a day at the office tomorrow, and then leaving at 7am on Friday morning to drive to Richmond, VA. I will be glad to arrive in Columbus next Monday night and be finished driving for a few days.
Sorry for the delay but I was EXHAUSTED when I got home and I completely forgot to blog until now. If you want a much more detailed account of our travels (and other hilarity in general), read mom's blog.
We got up early on Saturday morning knowing that we had a long day ahead of us and lots of stuff we still wanted to see. I delivered my laptop back to my travelling friend so she could drive it home instead of me having to drag it through multiple trains and airports. Mom and I used our multi-day metro passes (which we totally got our money's worth on! I highly recommend!) to get out to the Eastern Market which is normally just food items all week but on the weekends get the lovely addition of craft vendors. I have a newly loved habit of taking home a small piece of art to hang in my home (remember last year's Bean painting?) so we purchased a neat little watercolor of the Capitol building since political science is kinda my thing. We then purchased tickets to do the "hop on, hop off" tourist bus where we proceeded to see as many monuments as possible, find a loved one in Arlington, and I proceeded to get sunburned. Lovely and unexpected. Oh well. It was a beautiful and warm day and I dearly enjoyed my mom's company.
When we wrapped up our touristy stuff, we headed back to my friend K's house to get our stuff by way of a bus since they were doing work on the trains so I thought it was a little amusing that this is how I got home that night: bus to train station, train to end of the line, taxi to airport, plane to Atlanta, Groome shuttle to Chattanooga, then my sweet guy picked me up. So yeah, travelling is exhausting.
I did a little laundry and hung out with my guy on Sunday then worked on Monday. Next post - camp.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Another short phone post because mom is hogging the computer. To see more info about her days, check out www.acupofstonesoup.blogspot.com.
Today has been a long day but wonderful. It her been a long time since I have been able to spend this much time with my mom and it has been really sweet. We got up early this morning and headed in to town since I sighed up for an 8:30am session. The closing plenary session was immediately afterwards and they announced - just as we hoped- that next year's conference will be in Atlanta. That is tons more convenient for numerous reasons so I hope that e can send some staff to this next year.
We had a good lunch of Chinese food in Chinatown and then spent the entire afternoon in the Newseum. I found it particularly interesting because many of the events highlighted were more recent events, not in my lifetime necessarily but things that I had more knowledge about.
Photos below: a piece of the Berlin Wall and a map of countries that do not have freedom of press.
Feet are tired but we are having fun. Dinner tonight with my friend that us hosting us at one of her favorite places...then more sightseeing tomorrow!
Blogging from my phone so this will be semi-short:
The only thing on my conference schedule for today was the session that I co-led this morning. I wasn't nearly as nervous as I thought I would be which was a blessing. In all actuality, i think our session went really, really well. People asked lots of question, laughed, engaged and seemed to enjoy themselves. I am really proud of how it came together and I would totally do it again!
After a delicious lunch at Clydes, Mom and I spent the rest of the day tooling around near the Mall. The National Portrait Gallery, the Natural History Museum (my favorite), and the Sculpture Garden were all on the day's agenda. Loads of fun and lots of walking...all in all a wonderful day!
Photos: Hope Diamond, Mom and I, and Juliette Gordon Low's portrait in the national gallery!
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Today began super early - like 4:30 early - because I got up and showered and got everything together to take the Sister Shuttle (meaning, my sister drove us) to the Atlanta Airport. I am super excited that my mom is traveling with me because she is hysterical - and is generally a fun travel partner because she gets excited about everything. We made it to DC - after a flight from Atlanta to Baltimore (because it was WAY cheaper), a bus to the Metro, and then 2 trains to my friend's house where we are staying. We dropped stuff off and then headed pretty much straight to the conference center (2 more train rides).
Met up with our cop-presenters (that we haven't ever met in real life - just over the computer screen!) and mom and I grabbed some lunch at Subway. My first session was at 1:30 and then we had the opening plenary (J.R. Martinez! Neil Bush! Bill O'Reilly - sorry no exclamation point for him, and a bunch of other folks I can't remember) and a performance by two phenomenal high school marching bands. Plenty for one day for me...
Mom and I strolled down a couple of blocks to Chinatown, took pictures of the beautiful arch entry, and then ate dinner at an Irish pub. Yeah - I know, weirdos. Good adult beverages and a perfect front window spot for people watching and dinner was good.
Back at the friend's house now, holded up massaging my aching feet. :)
We present at 10:30 in the morning so any good thoughts you want to send my way would be awesome. True confession: I am pretty nervous...
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I got some really sad news from one of my closest friends today. My heart is so heavy for my friend - for what could have been, was going to be, and now just isn't. It is times like these that I struggle with God. I don't doubt that He IS and WILL BE, I don't even doubt that He is ultimately good and that good will come from this situation. But I struggle with the heartbreak. I struggle with the questions of "Why??" and "Where is the good right NOW?".
This friend is so dear to me. They are there for me when I need them and they make me laugh, understand my frustrations, and they give sound advice. They are loyal, trustworthy, fun, and I want to take away that heartache but I know that isn't possible; a lot of learning and healing and growth will happen here first. I am sure that this is something that gets carried with you for many years if not for always. But I hope that one day, they will be able to look up and see that it doesn't hurt so bad and there are glimmers of good hidden in that darkness.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
One of the trips I am looking forward to the most the summers is our annual trip to Biloxi. Mom, Dad, and I have been going to Biloxi the week of July 4th since I started working for the GS...so I guess this really does make it year 4! Dad does a great job of holding down the blackjack table while Mom and I do a great job of sitting by the pool, reading, drinking adult beverages, and tooling around Biloxi and Ocean Springs. There is a little art museum and a chocolate shop that we always find ourselves strolling by/through/in and I enjoy the time with my parents and not having to share.
But this year, we are adding my fun friend Jess to the mix! We haven't had anyone go with us in our 4 years so I think it will be fun to show her around our little vacation stomping ground! We've been travelling to Biloxi for YEARS now...I'm not even sure how many but I was either in late elementary school or middle school when we started heading there. We used to pull a 5th wheel trailer and camp at a great KOA campground in Ocean Springs and I have great memories of those trips. Somehow we never ended up there in the summer and I can even remember being there once when we ran out of propane in the middle of the night (our heat source!) and it being crazy cold - so much so that we worried about pipes freezing! We stay at the casino of Dad's choice now which is great - view of the bay, salt water pool, plenty of chairs for lounging. It'll be a great vacation - one I am very much looking forward to!
Thursday, June 6, 2013
I shall reiterate again that I truly do love my job. There aren't many people I know who can say that (and most of them are my co-workers!) so I know I am among the highly blessed. However, my dedication to said job + my guy's work schedule keep us away from each other more than we would like. This has led us to make some changes to our lives, to be more intentional with our time together, changes that I would have liked to not have to make but are necessary. I schedule my flex time when I know he will be off work and we can spend some time together and I try to be available the weekends that he is off work. However, if you thought my 6 weekends in a row this spring were busy, this summer looks even busier (mostly because the travel is more extended with fewer nights in my own bed!).
It started with a 7 day work week this week - Sunday at a celebration for girls who have achieved the highest honors in Girl Scouting - the Gold and Silver Awards. 5 days of normal work including 2 days in Knoxville and this Saturday will be spend co-leading a training for most of the day. Next week I just have one day in Knoxville and the following week I will be in DC from Wednesday to Saturday. The last week of the month holds 2 days at camp and then 3 days - over the weekend - in Virginia at an event that another council does for older girls that we are going to chaperone/check out. July brings a week long trip to Columbus and Biloxi with my parents (our 3rd Annual...or is it 4th?), a couple events, and 2 more 2-day trips to camp.
As I said in an email to a friend, I'm tired just thinking about it.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
One of the downers about Chad's job is that he has to work every other weekend. It is consistent so we can plan a few weekends out but knowing you are going to be stuck working every other one is such a downer; not that work is bad! We are thankful that we both have paying jobs that we feel fulfilled in doing. But knowing that we aren't going to get to spend that might time together is really the downside to all of it. I think we have both handled it well but on weekends like this one, it seems to just get to me a little more...
We got up yesterday and both worked out - he with a friend and bikes at the battlefield and me with a friend at the YMCA. I am glad we went but looking back, it just means more time away from each other when the time together is scarce. We came home and pretty much did chores until he had to leave for work - and I spend the rest of the afternoon doing the same. (Literally - all the laundry is done, grocery shopping done, lunches and dinners made for most of the week, kitchen cleaned, car cleaned out, sheets washed/changed, etc.) It was a long day that didn't end until midnight for me and then I got a text from my guy that he would have to stay at work all night and work a double shift. Ugh. Thus is life but sometimes it stinks. We had plans to hang out a few minutes together this morning before I have to leave town for Knoxville.
I'm not complaining - well maybe a little - but we are so very thankful for work and paychecks that it is hard to NOT be. I just wish our schedules were a little more synced so we could spend more time together. So, that being said, Chad just needs a little more time where he is to become vested in the retirement system. He can then start looking for work at other hospitals that might have a better schedule. Please say a prayer that something divinely designed will come along. :)